All solar panels generate DC (direct current) power. An AC solar panel is the combination of a solar panel with a pre-installed DC to AC inverter. These inverters are referred to as micro-inverters. They come either pre-installed on a solar panel or are attached to the solar panel on the job site during installation.
Because each AC panel is equipped with its own micro-inverter, the disadvantage of voltage drop affecting entire solar array, as it does in centralized inverter systems, is eliminated. Each solar panel can work independently to produce its maximum power in all conditions. The disadvantage of possible higher initial cost is offset by increased power production from the same modules over time and the ability to monitor output at a single module level.
More manufacturers will produce solar panels with pre-installed micro-inverters giving end users more control and monitoring of their solar investment. Solar panel installation cost will go down with the simplicity of plug and play solar panel micro-inverter systems. Lower installation costs will further push the cost of solar down allowing for deeper market penetration. Current standard DC solar panels will become a specialty item for RV solar, DC off-grid cabins and remote industrial power projects.